Lane Kiffin is searching for his first win as an SEC head coach since 2009. Ole Miss will travel to Lexington a week after the Rebels gave up 642 yards of offense in a 51-35 loss to Florida.
“Anytime you give up the numbers we gave up, it’s not just one area. We did not get very much rush and we did not cover well. That’s not a good combination,” Kiffin said. “Like I said during the game, that’s how you end up with a battle for the SEC offensive player of the year between a quarterback (Kyle Trask) and a tight end (Kyle Pitts). That was before Mississippi State had played, so that probably changed.”
Kiffin failed to find really anything positive to say about his defense.
“You don’t break the SEC record for Florida, who’s had great offenses and then they have the most in the history of the school. There are not a lot of positives to find there. We did almost stop them on a third down, but then we roughed the passer, so I was kind of excited there for a second.”
In his weekly press conference, where he wore the “LFG” t-shirt you see above, Kiffin was asked about what he expects to see from Kentucky this Saturday at Kroger Field.
“They’re very disciplined on defense, they don’t do a lot of things, but they know what they’re doing really well,” he said.
That’s not a slight at Mark Stoops’ defense. Kentucky keeps things relatively simple. They don’t try to throw exotic blitzes to try to confuse opposing quarterbacks. This week UK will be tasked to stop Matt Corral, who almost threw for 400 yards against Florida. The second-stringer in 2019 stepped in for the running John Rhys Plumlee to operate Kiffin’s spread offense, completing 22-of-31 passes for 395 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Kiffin believes Corral used his legs well to get out of trouble but must improve his footwork in the pocket.
“I think he did good job with his feet, getting out of trouble. I think he was very composed, really good at adjusting with him on the sidelines. Both quarterbacks were. His feet are a bit all over the place at times in the passing game. We got to clean that up since he was late on some balls that were really open that ended up being completed that could have been touchdowns.”
As for Kentucky’s offense, Kiffin sees a team that excels at running the football.
“Offensively they run the ball very well, veteran offensive line. We’re still in the beginning phases of them, but that’s what we seem to know so far.”
Kiffin actually has experience coaching with Eddie Gran. The UK offensive coordinator served on Kiffin’s staff as the running backs coach for the one season he was at Tennessee.
“Eddie’s a great guy, great recruiter. I just remember hearing about it, I didn’t really watch a ton of it last year when they didn’t have the quarterbacks and all the injuries. Being able to do what they did and running for a million yards, basically wildcat-ish, really good. I’m glad he’s doing well.”